Meet the Original Brooklyn Hipsters

Meet the Original Brooklyn Hipsters

Carrie McBride
Feb 7, 2014
Tim & Carol Sullivan. 284 Clinton Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. March 30, 1978.
(Image credit: Dinanda Nooney via NYPL Digital Archives)

One of the reasons Apartment Therapy's house tours are so popular is we all look for ideas and inspiration to use in our own homes. But they also indulge our curiosity about looking inside people's most private spaces and seeing how people live. Dinanda Nooney spent part of 1978-79 photographing Brooklynites, in 18 different neighborhoods, in and around their homes and the 500+ photo collection (viewable on the New York Public Library's website) acts as a fascinating visual time capsule.

Allen Wiener & sons. 331 President St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. July 8, 1978.
(Image credit: Dinanda Nooney via NYPL Digital Archives)

It seems like the world only "discovered" Brooklyn, and her hipsters, artists and eclectics, in the past 7 or 8 years, but it has always been an interesting mix of cultures, styles, people and homes. From Italian grandmother apartments with plastic-covered couches to artsy-fartsy brownstones that could have been movie sets for The Squid and the Whale to the beachy, sand-strewn streets of Breezy Point, the passage of time has made these photographs of ordinary homes feel like a great anthropological discovery.

Conrad & Phyllis Milster. 178 Emmerson St., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. May 9, 1978.
(Image credit: Dinanda Nooney via NYPL Digital Archives)

Having grown up in the '70s myself (albeit in a place worlds away, culturally, from Brooklyn), I delighted in revisiting some of the "groovy" furnishings from this decade - plenty of rattan and wicker, wallpaper galore, and, refreshingly, modest-size televisions.

Home of Gerard Basquiat. 553 Pacific St., Park Slope, Brooklyn. March 5, 1978.
(Image credit: Dinanda Nooney via NYPL Digital Archive)

And what a surprise to come across two photos of Jean-Michel Basquiat's childhood home in Park Slope!

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